Sunday, June 8, 2008

kiss me in sweet slow motion, let's let everything slide

One last bit of action, it seems, on JIRA issue MISC-1231. This comes by way of Meghan Dench:

Just to Clarify, Child Avatars may Apply and the Applications will be 'screened' and if they pass our PG Policy will be accepted, we've already worked with one Resident to accept her application.
BDSM and Gor are non negotiable, for obvious reasons.

The PG Policy includes but is not limited to;

No Nudity (Male or Female, a nipple is a nipple) : D
No Chains, Ropes or being bound.


One wonders if they mean collars, too, such a persistent fashion statement on the grid...but I'll agree with them, PG is PG.

But is it just me? I don't hear acceptance and tolerance in this. I hear...their hand has been forced; now, they will go over all applications by SL children with the finest-toothed combs the Lab has; and if there's an undotted i, an ellipses in the wrong place, they will be discarded. Because they've said so, you see, with that 'screened'.

If nothing is amiss, nothing obvious, and they agree it's something they can't really get around as a project proposal...then, and only then, they will approve the project for build.

As they say, they've already approved one project for build, by working with a resident to make sure she comes under the proper PG guidelines...but if you notice, they never say that the one application that's been approved under the new standards--was submitted by a child avatar.

The drama goes on...it's just carefully behind Lab doors, now.

I want to talk a little on lolita fashion--deliberately lower-case "l" on "lolita"--since for a lot of people, "Lolita" means predatory, means Nabokov, means pedophiles on parade. This is not the case in Japan, and those of us who've adopted, in large part, the style in the west, are not doing it because we want to be seen as children. Lolita fashion in the west is, as so many other things, less innocent--but west or east, it's still fashion.

Let me run through a little breakdown of terms, so you know what I mean.

Gothic Lolita

This is used as a common blanket term in a lot of cases, both among those who don't understand the fashion, and for those who just want one thing to refer to that people understand. (Another blanket term, at least on the grid, has become "EGA" or "EGL"--'Elegant Gothic Aristocrat' and 'Elegant Gothic Lolita'--this is not because most designers design to these specs, but because Linden Labs banned "lolita" as a search term.)

Lolita as a fashion has been kicking around Japan at least since the 1970s, but as a distinct look didn't pick up until the mid- to late-1990s. Gothic lolita, as seen in Japan, is sort of an oxymoron--in Japan, 'gothic' and 'lolita' are distinct and different looks. But what we think of as 'gothic lolita' is basic--no frills, no layers, no extravagant head bows, no prints--just simple, black or white, plain, in a sense. Crosses and coffins were and are common motifs, and colors--now--are nearly always in the black, white, or grey range.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright is now mainly a sweet lolita house, but when they started, nearly everything they did was gothic. Miho Matsuda is one of the larger names, and does both sweet and gothic lolita styles.

Draconic Kiss, Bare Rose, and many of the little shops dotting the vast Lico Lico mall carry gothic lolita outfits on the grid.

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(A lovely example of clean, classic styling of gothic lolita fashion from Harajuku, Japan.)

Gothic Aristocrat

Without the "EGL" appellation, gothic Aristocrat on its own refers to that rarity even in Japan--mens' fashion. Gackt Camui in the video Mizerable wears a perfect example of the style--very frilled, very ornate, heavy velvets, brocades, and lace essential to nearly every garment. Women also have been known to wear this, because the 'traditional' lolita look might be perceived as too 'girlish'. Since a staple feature of these outfits are long coats, long skirts, and jackets, men and women can wear them.

There are a couple other terms here to be aware of--ouji ("prince" in Japanese, leading to western appellations of "Little Prince" fashions) and "dandy". Ouji is gothic Aristocrat without the frills, buckles and ornate fabrics--the lines are similar, but it's extraordinarily pared-down. "Dandy" is pretty much male lolita--the same striped leggings, corselets or underbust corsets designed for a male physique, cuter shoes, and frills, hats and bows.

While this article has more to laugh at than genuinely good advice, it does have a little genuinely good advice. (But it's also funny as hell, and that's mainly why it's here.)

And the La Carmina blog has some lovely pictures of the style on men and women. See also, this primer on the look. And Fanplusfriend Garden does a wonderful job with the styles, as well as some punk lolita ties.

I think currently Silent Sparrow is the only house in world really playing with gothic Aristocrat as a style, especially for men, but Draconic Kiss and FallnAngel Designs are getting into menswear as well.

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(Two views of gothic Aristocrat, both designed and modeled by Mana, owner and designer behind Moi-même-Moitié, Japan's premier gothic Aristocrat fashion house.)

Sweet Lolita

Sweet lolita is just that--candy-coated, frilled and bowed, saccharine pastels and frou-frou skirting. Color tones are pink, light blue, lemon yellow, pale mint green...think Easter, with lots of lace, and bonnets, and cute stuffed animal backpacks--you've got sweet lolita.

Chelsea has some lovely examples of the look; so does Chocochip Cookie, Jelly Bean, Angelic Pretty, and Metamorphose Temps de Fille.

In world, you can find sweet lolita options at Wishbox, Bare Rose, and again, scattered throughout Lico Lico.

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(Example of sweet lolita on a girl just beyond Shibaya, Japan.)

Classic Lolita

So-called 'classic' lolita is a growing style, and takes the basic lolita look of pettiskirts and overskirts, long tights, strappy shoes and accessories, and does it all over in simpler designs and duller color palettes like deep rose, burgundy, chocolate brown, and also introduces prints--especially pinstriping in plain colors, and floral tone-on-tone designs.

Coquette Doll demonstrates the style perfectly on their web site. Alice Auaa wavers between gothic and classic lolita, but has some interesting pieces that demonstrate the style. Mary Magdalene is another classic lolita house, as is Garland, and Jane Marple does a lovely blend of classic and sweet.

In world, again, try finding classic lolita looks at Lico Lico.

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(Two good examples of classic Lolita, from Fairy Wish in Japan.)

Lolita Punk

Punk lolita is an oddity, but one that has a vibrant thriving presence in Japan. Essentially, it blends the two styles for men and women, creating an overdone look that's multilayered, tattered, and tending towards black, red and pink color tones. Lots of fishnet (over frothy lace), suspender belts, buckles, platform shoes, safety pins, screenprints of skulls, bones, random offprinted details...it's all part of the punk lolita look.

Striped leggings and arm-warmers are also big with punk lolita, as is club hair. Good places to see examples of that end of the style include Cradle Falls, Sooshii Dreads, Jaded Dreads and Hairfreax.

Hellcatpunks is known for their punk looks, and punk lolita dresses can also be found there; PUTOMAYO blends sweet with punk lolita for an odd, hellion-schoolgirl type of look. H. Naoto is forefront in bringing punk, gothic, and visual kei styles together. ID Japan also does costumery inspired by visual kei bands, many of which can be worn as lolita looks.

On the grid, the premier punk lolita house is Bare Rose, hands down. For pick-up mix-n-match details, try virtually any neko designer; almost all of them tend towards the punk. And Canimal has a wonderful line of striped and patterned leggings, along with mix-and-match Harajuku-influenced attire; I just wish she'd come out with more arm-warmers in matching patterns!

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(Punk lolita seen on a girl at a cosplay convention in Singapore.)

Hime Lolita

As hime means 'princess' in Japanese (like ouji means 'prince'), it's another way to refer to 'princess' or 'little princess' lolita fashion. Many houses do elements of hime lolita, no single fashion house does entirely 'princess' looks.

Think the little crowns, scepters, flowing laces, high collars, ornate prints, a distinct tilt towards seventeenth-century European styling. These are the most vintage looks, and can be very elegant.

Emilly Temple blends sweet and hime looks; Mille Fleurs goes for very frothy princess looks; and the huge megastore LaForet in Japan has an underground section that's all various types of lolita fashion, including hime.

Draconic Kiss and Bare Rose do hime lolita, and also All Dolled Up.

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(These two dressed up for a Sweet Lolita competition in China, but really more reflect hime lolita looks.)

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(A more gothic-inspired hime lolita look from Fanplusfriend.)

Color Lolita

This can be pulled from any fashion house, any style, or made at home--there's no specific guidelines on pattern, shape, and number of lace additions, it's simply that it must be all of one color. The two most common styles seen in Japan are subclasses of ama (another word for sweet) lolita fashion, and are very simply known as shiro (white) or kuro (black) lolita. (Though pink lolita, blue lolita, and the like are also seen, white and black are the two most common.)

Bare Rose has some few kuro outfits, as dose Draconic Kiss and Goth1c0 on the grid.

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(Example on the streets of Harajuku, Japan, of shiro loli fashion.)

Guro Lolita

Guro means "grotesque", and it's that simple--where one mixes the 'cute' of lolita fashion in general with the damage of the broken doll, or injuries on living flesh. Guro lolita fans who wish to make the largest impact dress in all (or mostly) white outfits, with blood (one presumes fake) in spots to indicate points of injury. Commonly seen are arm slings, bandages on legs and arms, eye patches (sometimes bloodied, sometimes with red crosses on them), braces, and on rare occasion, dressed-up canes and crutches. Common alternate names for guro lolita include "horror lolita", "wounded lolita" and "crime scene lolita".

To date, blablahospital is the only fashion line catering to guro lolita.

Draconic Kiss may well be the only design house dealing with guro lolita on the grid.

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(Guro lolita seen on two girls from Harajuku, Japan.)

Wa Lolita

Wa lolita is lolita fashion that meets traditional Japanese kimono and yukata presentation (wa means "peace" in Japanese); its counterpart in Chinese fashion is called qi lolita, after the traditional Chinese garment, the qi pao.

There may well be more, but Aya Dream is one of the few design houses I've found that makes wa lolita frocks. I haven't found a single place in world that blends Japanese or Chinese traditional looks with lolita; you'd nearly have to mix and match, wearing obis and lolita skirts, for instance.

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(Wa-loli dress example from Aya Dream.)

Erotic Lolita

Again, "erotic" has a different meaning in Japan than in the west--to be plain, though it relies on more adult looks, many "ero-loli" styles are actually far more covering than their cuter counterparts. What makes the presentation "erotic" by this definition is the amount of underpinnings used in the look--exposed garters and stockings, corsets, bloomers and petticoats. Generally, the most skin shown is at the shoulders and at the knees.

Roseate is one of the few fashion houses in Japan that deal with "ero-loli" stylings, though I'd also look towards Emilie Autumn for inspiration.

Goth1c0 does "ero-loli" looks, especially their "Tokyo Grunge" outfit, on the grid, and again, Bare Rose and Draconic Kiss pick up a few outfits that are more "erotic" by this definition than not.

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(Example of a mostly home-sewn "ero loli" outfit, most likely taken somewhere in Harajuku, Japan.)

Pirate Lolita

Pirate lolita started to catch on after the Pirates of the Caribbean movies hit Japan, though it had its roots in earlier historic-recreation outfits. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright's sister line, Alice and the Pirates, has done much to foster acceptance of this look. Assymetrical skirts, ornate captains' jackets and braiding, pirate boots and hats, horizontal and lateral stripe outfits, are all components of this style.

Draconic Kiss and, on rare occasion, Silent Sparrow are two houses that have occasional pirate lolita outfits on the grid, and of course, there's the pirate lolita-influenced miniskirt-outfit at Temenos Island.

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(Anonymous Emilie Autumn fan in pirate lolita.)

There's one last thing I want to cover, and it's another up-and-coming, not-often-seen fashion style:

Dosu Lolita

Dosu is a word shortened from a longer sumo exclamation, dosukoi, or "courage", in a sense; dosu literally means "dagger" or "short sword", and is itself a corruption of the word odosu, or "intimidate". The phrase dosu no kiita koe means "in a threatening voice" or "in an aggressive tone". It's long been a chant used by sumo wrestlers to build adrenalin and committment.

Dosu lolita is also called "sumo lolita" because of this, and it refers to plump or well-rounded women who wear lolita fashions. In large part, no pun intended, dosu lolita styles are excessively doll-like. Complimentary alternate terms are debu lolita ("chubby" lolita); insulting terms are desu lolita ("ugly woman" lolita).

There are no design houses, on or off the grid, that make dosu lolita fashions. It's all make-it-yourself, or mix home-made with brand. And there aren't many large-size avatars on the grid (though this is an interesting article explaining that).

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(Tending more towards the gothic, but still features elements in kind--hair in ringlets, frills, even if just around the hemline, though dosu does tend to feature longer skirts. This particular photo, rights are reserved to Ron Davis, photographer.)

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(Random cosplayer in dosu lolita from Animefest 2002, in Dallas, Texas.)

This is a short feature article on how adaptable lolita fashion is, and this is a list of seamstresses, domestic and international, who have experience with lolita fashions, and who may be willing to do your sewing for you, if you can't sew yourself. It's always worth a shot, if you can find a picture of what you want, and talk to someone in the know--the cost is not always prohibitive. Another good seamstress of various lolita styles is Leah from In the Starlight. Her prices are reasonable, and her styles diverse.

To that end, it's also worthwhile to gather pictures of what you'd like to wear and talk to designers on the grid. Not all will take custom work; most will be more willing if you can provide good clear images and/or high-resolution textile samples to them, as well as give them resale rights on any garments designed.

5 comments:

Darien Mason said...

A spectacular presentation, Emilly-san!

Emilly Orr said...

Thank you! The pictures were the hard part. There are very few pictures of some of the sub-categories.

Now, to get over to some of the shops and dig up SLUrls...

Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

Nice article. The "Lolita Punk" just looks like most western goth club gear to me. They even look like Newrocks that she's wearing. The Pirate Lolita just looks silly. The Gothic Aristocrat reminds me of the "Romanti-goth" or High Goth as it's occasionally referred to here. My typist's preferred style, though without the foofy hair.

But thank you for this. Well done.

turnerBroadcasting said...

Humbert humbert would be proud.

Emilly Orr said...

Edward: It very nearly is western club gear much of the time. A lot of the subcategories can blur the lines, and in the case of punk loli, it really comes down to amount of flouncing and gewgaws. Gothic Aristocrat on the other hand really *is* High Gothic, and it's only in Japan that it's seen as part of the lolita fashion craze.

Turner: that's precisely the point, is that Japan--being Japan--just grabbed a handy term and ran with it. I doubt the originators of the fashion style, in the early '70s, did more research than "Oh, 'Lolita', it means 'young', it'll be perfect for 'young fashion'."

That's also the problem, both in the west, and in SL--people hear "Lolita" fashion, and most of them immediately think "pedophilia". And yes, while it's very difficult, for westerners, to disconnect any body, clothed or unclothed, from sexual impulse, in Japan it's just about the clothes.